Some minority MPs on the Mines and Energy Committee in parliament have blamed high taxes and levies for the recent increase in electricity tariff.
Public outcry in recent times over unjustified electricity tariff resulted in the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission (PURC) directing the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to halt a new metering system it was implementing.
Subsequently, President John Mahama also promised business owners and the general public that the issue will be resolved as he announced that an inter-ministerial task force has been constituted to resolve the challenges.
But speaking to Citi Business News in an interview, a member of the Mines and Energy Committee, Mr. Joseph Cudjoe maintained that from the committee’s interaction with the ECG and PURC, high taxes and levies accounted for the astronomical increases witnessed recently.
Mr. Cudjoe cited for example that, street light levy which used to be one pesewa per unit shot up to 84 pesewas.
“There is also another levy….the National Identity levy which also went from one pesewa to GHS1.70,” he said.
According to him, members of the committee paid critical attention to all the components that were used in deriving the tariff increment announced by the PURC.
“In the ECG service charge component which PURC approved 59% for them during a stakeholder consultation, we looked at it and then compared the final percentage increase relative to the 59 % in the public. Am telling you the minimum increase you will see is 83%,” he said.
He stated that in some cases, the committee recorded as high as 94% increase in the tariff.
“The question really was what is accounting for the difference between the 59% increase announced by the PURC and the over 75% we are seeing. Isolating the factors, you could see that it is the tax component and the levy component which has made the bill become unacceptably high,” he said.
He stated that the situation was so revealing such that members on the minority side were ready to push for a decrease to ease the pressure on Ghanaians.
“The situation is not about metering at all like we were made to believe. The taxes are too high and I can tell you that if we don’t do something about the taxes ordinary Ghanaians will suffer,” he said.
He maintained that if the meters were the source of the problem, then the pre-paid meter users must be exempted, but the situation is not so.
“Both prepaid meters and post paid meter users are all complaining about the increase. In my constituency, I have had calls on how the increase is affecting businesses and households,” he stressed.
Meanwhile Citi Business News has gathered that the committee will visit the ECG to assess the situation on the ground.
By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana